Florida Poised to Crush Hope for Sanders

Joe Biden versus Bernie Sanders

By Emiene Wright

March 12, 2020

Will the Sunshine State be the end of the road for Bernie?

With Joe Biden holding a projected lead of 44 percentage points in a new University of North Florida poll, the Sunshine State is casting a gloomy pall over Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

The state has 219 delegates, second only to New York in states still up for grabs.  

Among Biden’s advantages are demographics: 25% of the Democratic electorate are African Americans, who have favored the former vice president, and about 60% of those polled self-identified as moderate or conservative. But Biden’s biggest advantage has come from Sanders himself.

Last month’s 60 Minutes interview — wherein Sanders condemned Fidel Castro but praised Cuba’s healthcare and literacy programs — looks like the nail in the coffin for the senator. 

Latino voters, normally a Sanders stronghold, are swerving hard right against him in Florida, where many are related to or have fled themselves from Socialist administrations. 

An aide to the candidate downplayed the numbers, calling them “red-baiting from the establishment and really it’s just Cubans from Miami who care about this and they’re Republicans and they’re not voting for us anyway.”

Still, Sanders has active support among younger followers, such as the Our Revolution group and Dream Defenders, who are pounding the pavement ahead of the primary. 

“Young people know these systems aren’t working and we’re pushing for things that do,” said Nailah Summers, Dream Defenders’ communications director. “And you can call that socialism, but whatever you call it, you’ve got to deal with the fact that Millennials and Gen Z are fed up.”

Florida votes Tuesday, March 17, along with Arizona, Illinois and Ohio — all states that went to Sanders’ rivals in 2016.




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